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Offering fertility benefits to your employees

Written by: Elizabeth Walker
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Published on March 2, 2022.

Millions of Americans have employer-sponsored health insurance and, as sad as it sounds, those benefits can often determine who can afford to start a family. 

Luckily, as of 2020, 61% of employers with 500+ employees provide some fertility insurance coverage. Additionally, 63% of employers are planning to cover fertility services beyond the diagnosis of infertility.

Employers adding or improving fertility benefits can make a profound difference to employees struggling to build their families. Considering that fertility methods cost tens of thousands of dollars, it’s easy to see the appeal of an employer who’s willing to help foot the bill. But what options do employers have if they don’t have a hefty budget for fertility benefits?

In this blog, we’ll go over why employers should offer fertility benefits, common fertility benefits that employees want covered, and how employers can cover the cost with a group coverage HRA (GCHRA) or a health stipend.

Why employers should offer fertility benefits

Offering comprehensive fertility benefits is critical for employers striving to be more inclusive. After all, fertility is no longer just a women’s issue.

Family-planning benefits should meet the needs of LGBTQ+ employees and male employees, as roughly 50% of fertility issues lie with these groups.

Additionally, fertility benefits are becoming a top consideration in today’s job market. One study found that 68% of employees said they would switch jobs to ensure they had fertility coverage. That number spikes to 90% for those needing infertility treatment.

Similarly, 60% of women say they would opt for a company offering fertility benefits over a company that didn’t. With these stats, it’s easy to see that fertility insurance coverage can help employers recruit and retain top talent.

Here are four employer advantages that come from offering fertility insurance:

  1. Long-term healthcare savings by supporting early fertility care
  2. Improved employee morale and company loyalty
  3. Inclusive benefits that support all employees of a diverse workforce
  4. Enhanced employer reputation as a family-friendly organization

When looking at the big picture, family-building benefits are a cost-effective way to increase productivity. A benefit that provides clinical oversight throughout an employee’s fertility journey increases the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy while decreasing pharmacy, neonatal intensive care, and other expensive health-related costs resulting in happier and satisfied employees.

Common fertility benefits that employees want covered

In this competitive job market, employers are scrambling to offer a wide range of fertility benefits as part of their health insurance plan. According to a ScienceDirect article, infertility impacts about 6.7 million people in the U.S. alone and 96 million worldwide. Ensuring you’re offering the right fertility benefits that employees commonly ask for is an excellent place to start when designing your health benefit.

The six most commonly covered fertility treatments for employees are:

  1. Fertility preservation, including egg harvesting and freezing
  2. Mental health counseling and resources for those struggling with fertility issues
  3. Non-IVF fertility treatment
  4. Diagnostic testing, including genetic testing, imaging, and other lab tests
  5. Treatment services, such as fertility drugs, insemination, and surgery
  6. IVF coverage

Keep in mind that family benefits don’t have to be exclusive to just medical treatments. Other popular family-friendly benefits include flexible work schedules, paid maternity and paternity leave, adoption assistance, child care, and much more.

How employers can cover the cost of fertility benefits

Despite a need for fertility services, fertility care is inaccessible to many because of cost. Most fertility assistance services aren’t fully covered by their insurance company.

Some employers get supplemental insurance coverage to fill in gaps in their traditional group insurance health plans to remedy this. But even so, most people still pay high out-of-pocket costs for fertility treatment, which can be well over $10,000 depending on the services needed.

Luckily, the two options we’ll explain below allow you to offer your employees a well-rounded, personalized fertility benefit without going over your budget.

Group coverage HRA

Your first option is a group coverage HRA. A GCHRA, or an integrated HRA, is a tax-free reimbursement arrangement between an employer and their employees to help pay for out-of-pocket costs that aren’t fully covered in their group health insurance plan.

With a GCHRA, employers can set a monthly allowance for their employees to use on healthcare. The amount of allowance you can set is unlimited, so if you’re aiming for top fertility care and benefits, the sky's the limit on how much you can give your employees.

IRS Publication 502 lists many types of fertility services that can be reimbursed with a GCHRA such as:

  1. Fertility and ovulation monitors
  2. IVF
  3. Fertility and infertility treatment
  4. Pregnancy tests, and much more

Allowances can’t be exceeded, and any unused allowance stays with the employer when an employee leaves their organization, making a GCHRA an affordable solution to offering fertility benefits.

Learn more about how a GCHRA works in our complete guide

Health stipends

Another great option to cover employees' fertility costs is a health stipend. A health stipend is a fixed sum of money offered to employees to purchase the healthcare services they need.

Just like an integrated HRA, the amount of money you can offer is unlimited, but with a health stipend, the money is typically added to your employee’s paycheck, making it extra taxable income.

Health stipends are generally easier to administer than HRAs and other insurance plans, and because you can set up a stipend for anything, they are very flexible to whatever your employees need, whether it’s family planning, fertility, adoption, surrogacy, or child care services.

What’s more, health stipends aren’t subject to the Affordable Care Act’s IRS regulations, so if you’re looking for a solution that is truly endless, stipends are the most inclusive option.

Conclusion

Fertility benefits are no longer considered a nice-to-have insurance option—they’re a must-have benefit for companies to support their employees and be recognized as a family-friendly organization. Even in this tight labor market, you can offer top-notch fertility benefits to attract and retain top talent without breaking the bank.

A GCHRA or a health stipend can provide an all-in-one solution to offer fertility benefits to your workforce at an affordable price. If you think one of these personalized benefit solutions is suitable for your company, contact our team and we’ll get you on your way!

Originally published on March 2, 2022. Last updated March 2, 2022.
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